Grammar shortcut formula solving like quant with high accuracy

Preparing for the Verbal ability section of CAT can’t be an overnight process. In fact, one’s grammar, range of vocabulary and ability to comprehend complex sentences as developed over years, are tested in this section. And so, your preparations for this section should be underway the day you decide to take CAT, whether 6 months or 3 years prior to the actual test. Reading at least one solid newspaper daily should be non-negotiable, especially the editorial page and supplement this with magazines and newspapers. Analyzing the past papers for the kind of questions asked is again mandatory.

Shortcut in grammar…. Solving grammar like quant.
At Cetking we have divided grammar into sections just like quant formulae which help students crack questions by looking at grammar as formula based questions. One of the most common grammatical formulae used in CAT is – incorrect usage of prepositions..

Discussed below are 3 questions having the same strikingly common error. Let’s see if you can Identify the errors.

Let us consider a particular type of question asked in this section i.e. “Identify the Incorrect Sentence”

  1. Taking one example from CAT paper, can you find the error ?? (CAT 2004)
    A. Harish told Raj to plead guilty.
    B. Raj pleaded guilty of stealing money from the shop.
    C. The court found Raj guilty of all the crimes he was charged with.
    D. He was sentenced for three years in jail

A common error in the incorrect sentences is in the inappropriate usage of prepositions.

He was sentenced for three years in jail.
This is a wrong use of preposition, since one can be’ sentenced for’ something and one is ‘sentenced to’ jail or prison. The following examples will clarify this:
He was sentenced for murdering his wife.
He was sentenced to four years in prison.
And thus the correct sentence should have been: He was sentenced to three years in jail.


2. Taking another example from CAT paper has an incorrect sentence, can you find?? (CAT 2004)

A. It was a tough situation and Manasi was taking pains to make it better.
B. Slowly her efforts gave fruit and things started improving.
C. Everyone complemented her for her good work.
D. She was very happy and thanked everyone


Everyone complimented her for her good work.
The appropriate preposition should have been ‘on’ and not ‘for’. And so, the correct sentence should be:
Everyone complimented her on her good work.
Sometimes prepositions may be used in a sentence though they are not needed, so this is another kind of incorrect sentence that the examinee should be able to identify.


  1. Taking another example from CAT paper, which of the following sentences is incorrect? (CAT 2004)
    A. Last Sunday, Archana had nothing to do.
    B. After waking up, she lay on the bed thinking of what to do.
    C. At 11 o clock she took shower and got ready.
    D. She spent most of the day shopping

After waking up, she lay on the bed thinking of what to do.
The preposition here is unnecessary and so the correct sentence should have been;
After waking up, she lay on the bed thinking what to do.

To be able to identify incorrect sentences, that have errors in the use of prepositions, one needs to understand that specific words are followed by specific prepositions.

Note: Sentence C in the above question is also incorrect, but due to error of article which we shall deal with later.

A few examples of words that are followed by specific prepositions and frequently used incorrectly are;

  • ‘Angry with’ (not ‘angry at’)
  • ‘Annoyed at’ (not ‘annoyed with)
  • ‘Acquainted with’ (not ‘acquainted to’)

Further, the same word may take more than one preposition depending on the context. For example;

  • We agree with a person and we agree to a proposal. The following sentences illustrate this clearly-

I do not agree with you on this issue.

I agreed to the proposal as it seemed sound.

Thus, a thorough understanding of which prepositions follow a word in a particular context will ensure that one can identify the incorrect sentence with ease.

 Grammar shortcut formula solving like quant with high accuracy